The insulation itself is in fairly ragged shape after I pulled it down and then replaced it. (I wanted to avoid it getting soaked due to a plumbing leak above.)

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In addition to being in poor shape, when I went to reinstall the light bulbs I'd removed when I pulled the insulation down I noticed that both appeared to have suffered damage from overheating, presumably due to being in direct contact with the insulation.

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Am I safe in assuming the insulation was only needed originally because incandescent bulbs put out much larger quantities of heat, and that it is no longer needed with modern low power bulbs.

1 Answer 1


As long as it's possible to screw an incandescent in there, someone will. So the insulation must stay, otherwise you are using the product inconsistent with its labeling or instructions, voiding its UL listing by altering it, all of which is a codevio.

The CFLs overheated because they were in a confined closed fixture, the insulation had nothing to do with it. Been there, done that. The root problem is you were using CFLs somewhere they should not be used, such as 2017.

That is your basic "tenant grade cheapie" fixture, and if you're absolutely in mad love with it, I would look for some ~8 watt LED screw-ins to put in there, might still have overheating problems though.

If money is no object, get a nice soldered-in-LEDs fixture where the LEDs and their heat sink are integral to the fixture, and which aims the LED light properly. Almost everyone wants a cone of light, and fixtures try to give it to you with inefficient reflectors. LED screw-ins don't avoid that, they corncob them around to try to light a sphere. But purpose built fixtures can be aimed or even lensed.

  • It always intrigued me how people talked about how wonderful CFL's were energy wise. When the reality of it is, they didn't save all that much especially since they typically lasted no longer than their incandescent cousins. Not to mention, while the BULB may not throw much heat, the ballast sure do :) now I say all of that with one main tenat in mind, the RUSH to produce cheap CFl's gave us the equivalent of an incadescent at a higher cost and a much larger environment impact. SIGH.
    – noybman
    Sep 24, 2017 at 3:55
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    They were ok for the 90s, and they were more efficient. Build quality super matters and I learned to avoid certain brands. After that I stopped having a high failure rate, but now I have the problem of boxes of the things that are too good to toss. Sep 24, 2017 at 12:46
  • You actually found good ones? I did have some good luck, but like I said, I had to find quality units. I never had one last 10 years. More expensive to manufacture, more troublesome to use, more troublesome to dispose of, and more impact to the environment. I do not believe that they ever were more efficient in any decade all things considered. I totally agree with going LED based. Still expensive to make LED's price and quality will both teeter. I'd honestly like to see a comparison of CFL vs incandescent from cradle to grave. I suspect its eye opening. (pun intended)
    – noybman
    Sep 24, 2017 at 16:38
  • Ohhh... just found this.... not sure I buy it yet, but still: thewatt.com/?q=node/175 The main thing is the insistent # of years a CFL will last. and how short of a life is suggested for incandescent. It throws the #'s off in the end. Interesting read on the 1.7 vs 0.3 to produce. I'll have to read the rest.
    – noybman
    Sep 24, 2017 at 16:43
  • Yeah, gotta be cautious of those, I mean some say a Prius is less efficient than an Expedition and that solar is a total lose for climate change. It gets so political so fast. Sep 24, 2017 at 17:30

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